2019 Memorial Day Statement of the Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
Beloved brethren in the Lord: CHRIST IS RISEN!
This weekend our nation observes Memorial Day - a date on the civil calendar when the nation can (and should) honor the men and women who died in battle on behalf of our nation.
We remember all that have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect those that cannot protect their self and allow others to live in freedom. We solemnly pause to remember those who fought and died for our country through many conflicts, battles and wars to ensure that we continue enjoying the freedom envisioned by our Founders.
In this day and age, the identity of those that make such an ultimate sacrifice is broad and far reaching. No longer can such heroes be identified by uniforms and military units alone. For today, such heroes’ attire, along with military uniforms, includes the uniforms’ of first responders, business suits, work clothes, security personnel and day to day clothing. That is, terrorism calls many into the battle to protect those that cannot protect their self and to keep the beat of freedom alive.
Our world has become a place in which many persons are anxious to jealously preserve their own interests. This weekend has come to signify things of far less significance: the opening of the public pool, the start of summer, the firing up of the backyard grill, and a day off. But all of us – people that live and reside in the United States of America… and particularly Christians… should stop and think deeply about this weekend, including prayers and vocabulary of honor in our liturgical worship services and community gatherings. The sacrifice of our fallen in war challenges us to think of what we want the values of society to be. Let us remember those who have shown us an unselfish way with honor. We remember them with gratitude because they show us who we can be as a country and a people, as we, too, seek ways in which we shall serve one another.
On this weekend, we shall and must gather in our parish communities to remember the heroic sacrifices of the fallen heroes of our nation and, in our gratitude, we shall pray for them, and to entrust the brave souls of many wars to the loving embrace of God. The men and women we remember this weekend were people of great love. We remember their sacrifice and their love today, and in our prayerful gatherings across the country, we shall keep alive the life and memory of all those many who unselfishly gave their lives for our country. They were not thinking of themselves as they went to fight for their country. They were thinking of the ideals of their country and their duty as faithful citizens.
In particular, we are forever grateful for the sacrifice of the deceased members of the military and armed forces from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, as well as for their family members who miss them.
May we never take for granted the freedoms for which they fought. Instead may we honor the memory of these generous men and women by making some sacrifice of our own this Memorial Day: an act of service, commemoration, or prayer. Together let us always strive to be citizens mindful and respectful of those who paid the ultimate price.
With prayers, from the Spiritual Center (Metropolia) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA in South Bound Brook, NJ